My Background

Visit to where my grandfather came to America!

A story of immigrants

My grandfather came through Ellis Island in 1902 when he was 10 months old coming from what was then Austria. My great grandfather, my grandfather, and for a short time my Dad worked in a dairy delivering milk. My grandfather on my mom's side, a carpenter, came from Prince Edward Island in Canada and immigrated to the United States in 1954 when my mom was a little girl. My mom and dad met in high school and built a life of service taking care of the elderly - my dad as owner and administrator of a nursing home, and my mom as a nurse. From those roots, I became a Professor at one of the best universities in the country and create guidance systems to improve cancer surgery. From dairy worker and carpenter to me, my family has always been connected to hard work, ingenuity, and putting those two aspects together to build a better life for their kids.   

Early life

When I was 17 and with the support of my parents, I joined the U.S. Army Reserve in a special program and went to basic training at Fort Dix, NJ and advanced individual training at Fort Jackson, SC.  I also enrolled at the University of Rhode Island on a scholarship seeking a degree in Mechanical Engineering with Applied Mechanics. In my senior year, while my friends were finishing up their studies, I was deployed to Fort Bragg, NC and eventually landed in Saudi Arabia and Iraq as part of Operation Desert Shield and Storm. As a non-commissioned officer (SGT/E5) and veteran of the Persian Gulf War, this was a profound experience that shaped my life and still does today. When I returned, I finished up my degree and had a whole new drive to further my studies so I could continue to serve by creating new technologies to better society. While I began my graduate studies working on submarine weapon systems, I soon realized that I would rather work on systems furthering life than shortening it. 

Coming to Vanderbilt

I enrolled at Dartmouth College's (Hanover, NH) Thayer School of Engineering in the field of Biomedical Engineering and received my PhD in 1998. While there, I worked on image-guided neurosurgery systems for assisting in the resection of brain tumors. I was awarded the program's most prestigious honor, the Distinguished Fellow. From there, I left the mountains of New Hampshire and I took a faculty position at Vanderbilt University in 2000 in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. While at Vandy, I have continued to work on improving brain surgery, and extended my work into new areas associated with liver, breast, and kidney cancer. I am also a co-founder of the Vanderbilt Institute for Surgery and Engineering (www.vanderbilt.edu/vise).

My life in the county

While working in Nashville, I have been living in Williamson County in Fieldstone Farms for the last 17+ years. I have loved living in Franklin so much. Our family is a frequenter of the Franklin Cinema, Carnton Plantation, and of course many of the Main Street Festivals. We also have four children and all have been or are enrolled in the public school system in Williamson County. My wife Shelley has been teaching high school at Centennial High School (CHS) in Williamson County for 17+ years as well. She works tirelessly with the student government at CHS and has been a dedicated servant for teaching both academic and life skills. My kids have been involved in Williamson county soccer, lacrosse, marching band, and high school & local theater groups. We have had a wonderful life in Williamson County.